[Versión en español abajo]
Today we were informed of the sad news of the recent passing of Philip Paterson Smith MBE, founder of Barcelona CC in 1982 and Madrid CC in 1979. Philip, born in England in 1936, moved to Spain in 1957 and never looked back. Whilst he spent some time in Madrid in the late 70s, most of his adult life was spent in Catalonia. He did an incredible number of jobs in varying fields, but still found ample time to organise numerous sporting encounters, mostly in rugby and cricket.
It wasn’t until his mid-40s that Philip, presumably now less able to play rugby, decided to start up a cricket team in Spain. Having been moved to Madrid for work, he got some players together to form Madrid Cricket Club. For a while, they were forced to play amongst themselves but eventually went on tour to Portugal, where a couple of teams welcomed them. Upon his return to the Catalan capital, Barcelona Cricket Club was formed, playing its first game at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (the Royal Polo Club) on the 13th June 1982, against Madrid CC. Over the coming years, Barcelona would become the first foreign club to visit Morocco (1992), and the first European club to visit China (1997). He also oversaw the Spanish league and cup double in 1995, the club having been strengthened by the arrival of Pakistani immigrants to the country. Philip played until he was 63, when his eyesight began to let him down. It says a lot that the club was forced into a hiatus shortly after he stopped.
He was awarded his MBE for “services to Britons abroad” in 1996, having been working with the British Embassy and Consulate for most of his life. He had organised countless sports matches, often between visiting British military forces and the Embassy, as well as providing an outlet for uncommon sports such as cricket and rugby for expats and immigrants. Philip had such an interesting life that in 2014 he released a book, El Inmigrante Inglés (The English Immigrant), detailing his adventures. It was only 95 pages long, but I’m sure there are plenty of stories that didn’t make it in!
Whilst none of the current members of BICC had the fortune of meeting Philip, we are grateful for his hard work. Cricket has come a long way in Catalonia since he founded the club in 1982, with 34 clubs now playing in an organised league under a federation. Who knows how things might have been without him. Our thoughts go to his family as a fine innings from a wonderful man ends.
Hoy nos han informado de la triste noticia del reciente fallecimiento de Philip Paterson Smith MBE, fundador de Barcelona CC en 1982 y Madrid CC en 1979. Philip, nacido en Inglaterra en 1936, se trasladó a España en 1957 y nunca miró atrás. Si bien pasó algún tiempo en Madrid a finales de los años 70, la mayor parte de su vida adulta la pasó en Cataluña. Hizo una cantidad increíble de trabajos en varios campos, pero aun así encontró tiempo suficiente para organizar numerosos encuentros deportivos, principalmente en rugby y cricket.
No fue hasta los 40 años que Philip, probablemente ahora menos capaz de jugar al rugby, decidió poner en marcha un equipo de cricket en España. Tras mudarse a Madrid por trabajo, reunió a algunos jugadores para formar el Madrid Cricket Club. Durante un tiempo, se vieron obligados a jugar entre ellos, pero finalmente se fueron de gira a Portugal, donde un par de equipos les dieron la bienvenida. A su regreso a la capital catalana se formó el Barcelona Cricket Club, que jugó su primer partido en el Real Club de Polo de Barcelona el 13 de junio de 1982, contra el mismo Madrid CC. En los próximos años, el Barcelona se convertiría en el primer club extranjero en visitar Marruecos (1992), y el primer club europeo en visitar China (1997). También dirigió el doblete de liga y copa española en 1995, habiéndo fortalecido el club con la llegada de algunos inmigrantes paquistaníes al país. Philip jugó hasta los 63 años, cuando su vista comenzó a fallarle. Dice mucho que el club se vio obligado a hacer una pausa poco después de que se detuviera de jugar.
Recibió su MBE (Miembro de la Excelentísima Orden del Imperio Británico) por "servicios a los británicos en el extranjero" en 1996, habiendo trabajado con la Embajada y el Consulado Británicos durante la mayor parte de su vida. Había organizado innumerables partidos deportivos, a menudo entre las fuerzas militares británicas visitantes y la Embajada, además de proporcionar una salida para deportes poco comunes como el cricket y el rugby para expatriados e inmigrantes. Philip tuvo una vida tan interesante que en 2014 publicó un libro, El Inmigrante Inglés, que detalla sus aventuras. Solo tenía 95 páginas, ¡pero estoy seguro de que hay muchas historias que no llegaron!
Si bien ninguno de los miembros actuales de BICC tuvo la fortuna de conocer a Philip, estamos agradecidos por su arduo trabajo. Criquet ha recorrido un largo camino en Cataluña desde que fundó el club en 1982, con 34 clubes que ahora juegan en una liga organizada bajo una federación. Quién sabe cómo podrían haber sido las cosas sin él. Nuestros pensamientos van a su familia, ahora que termine un buen inning de un hombre maravilloso.
Yesterday Sam, Burhan, Maroof, Shriram, Umer and Agni (with help from Men in Blue's Suraj) ran the first BICC women's session. We welcomed 12 women from all over the world (with a very healthy Spanish/ Catalan contingent) most of whom were new to the game and eager to try it out. Using tapeballs, we did some drills and exercises on batting, bowling and fielding, before finishing with a quick pairs game on the softball ground. Everyone had a great time and many were keen for a next session, which we hope to be able to confirm very soon (and for it to come very soon too!). If you're interested in joining us for it, or to know when any future sessions are coming up, contact us through out social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ayer Sam, Burhan, Maroof, Shriram, Umer y Agni (con ayuda de Suraj de Men in Blue) dirigieron la primera sesión para mujeres de BICC. Damos la bienvenida a 12 mujeres de todas partes del mundo (con un contingente muy bueno de españolas/ catalanas), y la mayoría de ellas nuevas al deporte y entusiastas de probarlo. Utilizando tapeballs (pelotas de tenis cubiertas con cinta aislante), hicimos unos ejercicios de batear, lanzar y defensa, acabando con un mini partido de parejas en el campo de sóftbol. Todo el mundo se pasó bien y acabaron con ganas de repetir, cosa que esperamos poder confirmar muy pronto (y que venga muy pronto también!). Si estás interesada en venir, o para saber cuándo vendrán sesiones futuras, nos puedes contactar a través de nuestras redes o a email@example.com.
This weekend, club president Damien McMullen was invited as a guest on to Julian Morrow's Sunday Extra show, to explain the recent vote on the soon-to-be-built cricket ground in Barcelona and a bit of Barcelona cricket history. The full interview can be found here:
Last week a British team from al Jazeera visited Barcelona to cover the Mobile World Congress, and decided to pay us a visit to look at the effects of the recent vote for funding in Montjuic. Here is the end result:
Check out some of the 'behind the scenes' shots over on our instagram page!
We are excited to announce that we have begun a partnership with Melbourne-based clothing company Big Dogg, who will provide our playing kit as well as some bonus items for off the pitch, Our new coloured kit has already arrived and seen its debut in our match yesterday. The kit looks great and we can't wait for everything else to arrive and to see what designed Dane comes up with next. Hopefully this will be the start of a fruitful relationship between us, as they look to expand into Spain and mainland Europe beyond. If your club is looking for a new kit supplier, get in touch and we'll pass you on to them!
Today at lunchtime it was announced that the bid for €1.6million of funding for a cricket ground in Barcelona had passed the second round of public voting, being the second-most voted project in the city. This means that our old ground, the Camp Municipal Julià de Campmany should receive quite the makeover during the next couple of years. We hope to be able to get back there very soon!
Our thanks go to the Federació catalana de cricket and those involved with the new girl's and women's teams for getting this off the ground.
Click here to vote
Between 10th and 20th June, Barcelona is voting on where to use public funding, and we want you to help us get a cricket ground! If you're a Barcelona resident, please vote. If not, please share this video! Vote... and then follow us on social media and let us know that you voted!
A few days ago, President Damien talked to Stephen Burgen of The Guardian about cricket in Barcelona, Here you can read the article in full.
The club started off life playing at the prestigious Real Club de Polo de Barcelona in 1982, after Barcelona CC founder Philip Paterson Smith convinced the Conde de Reus (Earl of Reus), the then-President of the polo club, that Englishmen always played a game of cricket to celebrate the Queen's birthday and were granted use of the grounds. Despite this white lie, the club were soon invited back to play there regularly, as can be seen from the letter below. The club played there until the 1992 Olympics, when they were required to find somewhere else to play, although they were able to return temporarily and sporadically from 1995.
After ten years playing regularly at the same place, suddenly the club had to become more nomadic. They embarked on more tours abroad, as well as around Spain. One game saw them host Swiss side Cern CC in the grounds of Hotel El Montanyà, some 60km north from Barcelona.
After the club had a short hiatus at the end of the 90s, it continued in its nomadic ways before ending up playing games in a field outside Constantí, Tarragona, almost twice as far from the capital as El Montanyà. Following the subsidised purchase of a Flicx mat, a few practice sessions were also able to take place in the nearer Sitges Rugby Club (below) in 2006-7.
In 2007, the inaugural Catalan cricket league started, with the recently renamed BICC entering as a founding member with games to take place at the Olympic Baseball stadium, in Montjuïc, with a coconut matting placed between 2nd and 3rd bases. The ground also saw us hosting Essex touring side Stanford-Le-Hope in 2012. Seemingly, the club played all of its league games there until 2012. In 2013, our second division matches were moved to the University of Barcelona's rugby pitch (below). At the end of that year, the club pulled out of the league and stopped playing at either the baseball ground or the University.
The year before, the club had signed an agreement to play at the Estadi Julià Capmany, soon to be nicknamed the Coca-Cola stadium (can you guess why?). There, we began playing friendlies against selected oppositions from Barcelona as well as continuing to receive British teams.
The club has remained there ever since, surviving the closing of the stadium bar, repeated break-ins and theft, an arson attack, double bookings with softball matches and far too many incidents of trespassing. The ground has become the cricket hub of Barcelona, now used by most clubs in the area, despite its unideal rectangular shape and uneven ground.
Throughout the years, the ground has continuously changed from the one seen in the photo above (even the Coca-Cola sign is gone!).
This ground is now in real need of some TLC. If you are a resident of Barcelona, please click and vote here (until 4th April) to help get funding to do the ground up!
Even with this potentially funding, the club has been looking to find its own ground for a while now and continues to pursue this. We hope that this will be somewhere in the suburbs of Barcelona and will allow us to play in better conditions with the hope of attracting more touring teams to visit us. Please get in touch if you might have any lead in terms of land available, or potential investors or sponsors! With any luck, we won't have to be a nomadic club for too much longer.